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clever

WCNC Upcycled Serving Trays

DIY Upcycled Cutting Board Serving Trays

By | clever, diy, make something, step away from the screen, video | No Comments

Have you ever found yourself with an old cutting board whose cuts and grooves are too deep for comfort? I have. And I know I’m supposed to stop using it with food, because bacteria. But I hate having to just throw away such a great piece of wood. When this happened to me recently, I decided to upcycle the cutting board into a serving tray. It’s a pretty simple project — once I had all my supplies, the whole thing took less than an hour. So easy.

And I got to share my creations with Colleen and Eugene on Charlotte Today. So I have some video for you, too. Watch here. (P.S. Be sure to laugh at and with me when I totally bungle screwing in the handle!)


(Video not working? Click here.)

This project does involve using power tools, but don’t be nervous. You don’t really need to do more than drill a couple of holes. I know you can do it! Especially if you aren’t on live tv when you do it 🙂

As I mentioned, the inspiration for this project came from my own, ready-to-be-retired cutting board, but of course, if you don’t have any beat up cutting boards lying around right now, you can easily do this project with a new cutting board. My old cutting board was the APTITLIG from IKEA, so I went out and got a couple more of those same ones for $7.99 each. I love bamboo cutting boards, and these don’t have any cutouts to deal with. They’re just a solid piece of wood: perfect for a serving tray.

So here are the supplies you need:

  • Drill with drill bit and phillips head bit
  • 2 Drawer pulls
  • Used or inexpensive cutting board
  • 220 grit Sandpaper
  • Can of spray Lacquer or Clear Enamel
  • Scrap wood to protect your tabletop when you drill
  • 4 Adhesive felt pads

Here are some extra supplies you may want:

  • Spray paint + painters tape
  • Wood-burning kit
  • Stain or Colored Glaze
  • Washi tape + Mod Podge
  • Etc!

And here’s how you turn a cutting board into a serving tray:

Step 1: If you’re using an old cutting board, give it a good sanding with the sandpaper so the grooves aren’t as pronounced or noticeable.

Step 2: If you are going to do anything to alter the look of the board (wood burning, painting, etc.) this is the time to do it. I created 3 boards: on one I painted it with green glazing paint (which is like stain, but color, so the wood shows through); on one I spray painted a single, white stripe (here are 7 tips for successful spray painting); and on the last one, I wood-burned a design into the board.

(This would be a super cool opportunity to do a wax-paper transfer of artwork, too. Here’s a video with instructions.)

Step 3: Spray the board with a few coats of spray lacquer or clear enamel. This will protect the wood and also anything you’ve designed on your board. Let this dry completely.

Step 4: Measure the space between the holes of your drawer pull and mark your board. Then decide how far from the edge you’d like your handles to be and mark this. Once you know where you’re going to drill, place the cutting board on top of the scrap wood. This will ensure you don’t drill through the board straight into your table (unless you have a workbench that can take that kind of abuse).

Step 5: Drill baby drill! Four holes total. Carefully clean away any splinters (you may need to sand a bit, depending on how splintery the board is — bamboo is pretty splintery).

Step 6: Insert the screws from the underside of the board and screw them in part way. Place your handle on top of the screws, and finish screwing them in.

Step 7: Apply felt pads to the underside of the board, one in each corner.

And voila! Your new serving tray is ready! Invite people over and serve them something delicious!

Branding the Presidents

By | clever, design, history, thought provoking | 2 Comments

Here’s a cool personal project from designer Meg Jannot — a Tumblr called Branding the Presidents. She’s designing each of the 44 presidents over the course of 44 days. A great exercise for any designer, and especially great for this breathless, rough-and-tumble election year. Nice work Meg!

I especially love how different they all are. Here are a few highlights. Click here to see the whole set on Tumblr. Which ones are your favorites?

Thanks Ilina!

Metropolitan Etiquette Authority

By | caught my eye, clever, design | 8 Comments

Have you ever lived in Manhattan? I have. And as much as I loved it there, one of the things that can be challenging is the sheer number of people — and their habits — you have to interact with every time you walk around. The lack of courtesy you might encounter on a 2 minute walk to the deli is astounding. Well artist Jay Shells has launched a guerilla art project that addresses just that — street etiquette. The signs are now popping up all around Manhattan. In addition to the fantastic “Pay Attention While Walking” sign he had a few others addressing some of the pet peeves bound to eat away at New Yorkers.

I hope this is an ongoing project. Do you have pet peeves that could benefit from some well-placed signage?

(Found at The Daily What.)

Superhero Taxonomy

By | clever, design, infographics | No Comments

The Illustrious Omnibus of Superpowers, created by Pop Chart Labs. A super handy taxonomy for all types of superhero powers.

Can’t remember who can Envelope body in Fiery Plasma? Just use their handy magnify tool to find out. Plus, it’s gorgeously designed with vintage muted colors and retro science lab shapes. A great gift for your favorite superhero lover. Or anyone who loves charts.

(Thanks for the tip Fanboy.com)

Indie Ferris Bueller

By | clever, video | 8 Comments

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was the ultimate coming-of-age movie for us Gen-Xers. It portrayed rebellion, soul-searching and fear of the future in a witty, charming and slapsticky package. And it even had Charlie Sheen winning way before Charlie Sheen was winning. If it came out today, instead of 1986, how would it fare against the sea of sensitive, coming-of-age, navel-gazing movies? This fantastic “new” trailer, recut by UK filmmaker Joseph Brett, makes me think it would do just fine.

Here’s the YouTube link if you can’t see the video below.

(Thanks Holiday Matinee!)

Looseleaf Tees

By | clever, wearable | 2 Comments

I’m loving these notebook paper inspired t-shirts from E for Effort (a collaboration between cool Brooklyn artists Beka Goedde and Rachel Ostrow) and Artware Editions. Each one is hand silkscreened, although I’m afraid that once I had one, I’d been tempted to get a sharpie out and write a note to my BFF during study hall. On the other hand, that might not be a bad thing.

Available for kids, grownups and even tiny kids. And, just in case your house isn’t already overrun by cool tote bags, there’s one of those too.

Check them all out and get one here.
Thanks for the tip LiquidTreat!

Paper Town Friends

By | clever, design, happy, istuff, kids, wearable | No Comments

Sit down friends. I have something great to show you. Really really great. It’s a new iPhone app called Paper Town Friends created by clever Robin Rosenthal. Paper Town Friends features a bunch of paper cut-out characters for you to dress with their very own paper cut-out clothes and hats and accessories.

Robin cut out by hand all the tiny clothes and shoes and hats in the app. And get this — they’re even tiny in real life! Teeny crocs — with holes! A wee shriner’s fez! Baby batik tunics! It’s all just so freakin adorable.


(click for bigger)

And I love the effect it creates. The wonky shapes. The messy, decoupaged feel of it all. It’s like a soothing balm for the over-vectorized, over-digitized soul. Sweet and smart and omg so fun! Hooray for Robin! Yay for us! And okay, maybe I’ll let my kids play with it too.

Where else is Laurie?

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